Thursday, July 25, 2013

Elizabeth Roller Skating Rink


Skating has long been a popular pastime in Elizabeth. As early as 1959 it was realised that the need for further amenities became more urgent as the town grew rapidly. As a result of this the promoters of Youth Enterprises Ltd. Built what was at that time the most modern hall for skating in South Australia at a cost of approximately £16,000.

Opened on 3rd November 1959 as the Elizabeth Skating Rink, it was the largest hall of its type built in a single span being 140 ft. x 100 ft. Apart from the rink itself, it had cloakrooms, canteen ad a sitting out area for spectators. A maple timber was chosen for the floor and 300 pairs of “Ice-Flo” skates with boots attached were available for hire – the boots being fumigated after each session as a good hygiene measure. To avoid damage to the floor patrons who owned metal wheel skates could have them changed to wooden wheels at a moderate cost by the management.

The building was used for various purposes besides skating. Hundreds of young students sat their Intermediate and Leaving Certificate public examinations there and the Apex Club helped to construct the many desks needed. The Birthday Ball was held there for the first time in 1959 and continued to do so until the Octagon Theatre opened in 1965. On a wild winter’s night the hall was the venue of the first parish dinner of St. Theodore’s Church of England. A gale was blowing and the roof vibrated alarmingly. As Father Howell Witt went up the microphone at the top table, the end wall crashed down burying the table and everyone fled.

Extensive renovations were carried out in 1976 and the present building is very different from the early hall which nearly buried Father Witt. The wooden floor has been replaced by urethane-coated concrete, the wooden seats and walls by completely carpeted areas. The rink celebrated its 21st birthday in 1980. The World Roller Skating Championships were held there in 1977 when the Elizabeth roller hockey team won their event, and the State Championships were held there in 1980.

Local skaters have had many successes in world roller hockey championships and speed skating events, and the Elizabeth roller hockey team competed in world titles staged in Argentina and Spain in recent years.

5 comments:

  1. I think it was my father Mortimer Marsh of 5AD and his brother-in-law, Horrie Weepers who invested in this skating rink. I remember Dad telling me that it was the only business he'd ever invested in, and when the wall collapsed he lost his investment!

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  2. Hi any help!!! looking for archive from 65-68 road roller skating... organizer horie weaper.. ??? From porraka to elizabeth roller rink.

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  3. I remember skating here as a kid in the late 70s

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  4. When did it close and what is there now? The aquadome?

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  5. The rink closed in April 1986, it was located at 13 Elizabeth Way, now a two story office building between On The Run and the Aquadome.

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